Skip to main content

December's Consumer Reports: Gadgets, Gear, and Hospice & Palliative Care


The December issue of Consumer reports is truly amazing. It’s filled with articles to help consumers find the right headphones, smart phones, and smart watches. One hot new piece of gear that is rated quite highly by consumer reports in this issue is something you may have heard about once or twice before, Hospice and Palliative Care.

You can access the for free all of the articles on their website at this link. This is a really well thought out webpage that is written by consumers, for consumers and includes the following resources:
  1. The story of Paul Scheier's life and death: The website includes a 17 minute long video that discusses the importance of hospice and palliative medicine, addresses myths often connected to these programs, and includes a tear shedding journey of Paul’s life and death.
  2. A guide on how to pick a hospice 
  3. Advice about advance directives including a link to an app by the American Bar Association called My Health Care Wishes (Android and iOS) that lets you store advance directives and related legal documents on your mobile device.
  4. A section on "when things go wrong" that includes a link to the American Geriatrics Society's Health in Aging Foundation to help consumers find a geriatrician!

by: Eric Widera (@ewidera)

Comments

Eric, Great review. I just got my CR yesterday. My only criticism is, "They buried (pun NOT intentional) the lead!!" NO reference at all to H & PC till you get inside. That said, it will certainly help get the word further out. Thanks.

Popular posts from this blog

Dying without Dialysis

There is a terrific article in this weeks Journal of Pain and Symptom Management by Fliss Murtagh of King's College in London about the epidemiology of symptoms for patients with advanced renal failure who die without dialysis.  This study is important because while we know that patients with advanced renal failure have a limited life expectancy and the average age of initiation of hemodialysis is increasing, we know little about the alternatives to hemodialysis.  Specifically, we know nothing about symptoms affecting quality of life among patients who elect not to start dialysis (so called "conservative management" - is this the best label?).  This article provides a terrific counterpoint to the article in last years NEJM showing that nursing home residents who initiated hemodialysis tended to die and decline in function (see GeriPal write up here). 

The study authors followed patients with the most advanced form of chronic kidney disease (the new name for renal failu…

The Dangers of Fleet Enemas

The dangers of oral sodium phosphate preparations are fairly well known in the medical community. In 2006 the FDA issued it’s first warning that patients taking oral sodium phosphate preparations are at risk for potential for acute kidney injury. Two years later, over-the-counter preparations of these drugs were voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturers.  Those agents still available by prescription were given black box warnings mainly due to acute phosphate nephropathy that can result in renal failure, especially in older adults. Despite all this talk of oral preparations, little was mentioned about a sodium phosphate preparation that is still available over-the-counter – the Fleet enema.

Why Oral Sodium Phosphate Preparations Are Dangerous 

Before we go into the risks of Fleet enemas, lets spend just a couple sentences on why oral sodium phosphate preparations carry significant risks. First, oral sodium phosphate preparations can cause significant fluid shifts within the colon …

Survival from severe sepsis: The infection is cured but all is not well

Severe sepsis is a syndrome marked by a severe infection that results in the failure of at least one major organ system: For example, pneumonia complicated by kidney failure. It is the most common non-cardiac cause of critical illness and is associated with a high mortality rate.

But what happens to those who survive their hospitalization for severe sepsis? An important study published in JAMA from Iwashyna and colleagues provides answers and tells us all is not well. When the patient leaves the hospital, the infection may be cured, but the patient and family will need to contend with a host of major new functional and cognitive deficits.

Iwashyna examined disability and cognitive outcomes among 516 survivors of severe sepsis. These subjects were Medicare enrollees who were participants in the Health and Retirement Study. The average age of patients was 77 years.

When interviewed after discharge, most survivors were left with major new deficits in their ability to live independently. …